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Helping Small Towns Succeed: Clues, Capitals and Community Resilience

Welcome to the landing page for this year’s institute. Check back often for updates and information.

Keynote Speakers Highlight Event

Chuck Schroeder, Founding Director, Rural Futures Institute

Cornelia Flora, Originator,Community Capitals Framework

Chuck Hibberd, Dean & Director,Nebraska Extension

Three innovators in rural community development will highlight this year’s institute, which focuses on Clues to Community Survival and the Community Capitals Framework.

Charles P. “Chuck” Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, kicks off the institute. Chuck is a native of southwestern Nebraska ranch country near the rural community of Palisade.

Prior to beginning his new duties in 2013 as founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute, Schroeder served 12 years as president and executive director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Previously, he held other leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as founding CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, headquartered in Denver, Chicago and Washington, DC. Schroeder also served as executive vice president and director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation and director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.



Cornelia Flora, originator of the Community Capitals Framework. Dr. Flora is the former Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Sociology at Iowa State University. Previously she was holder of the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota, head of the Sociology Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and a program officer for the Ford Foundation.

A past president of the Rural Sociological Society, the Community Development Society and the Society for Agriculture, Food and Human Values, she is author and editor of a number of recent books, including Interactions Between Agroecosystems and Rural Communities, Rural Communities: Legacy and Change (now in its fifth edition) and Sustainable Agriculture in Temperate Zones.

Dr. Flora received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, where she received the 1994 Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Science. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was chair of the Boards of Directors of the Henry A. Wallace Institute of Alternative Agriculture and the Northwest Area Foundation. Currently, she is serving on the boards of several organizations, including CONDESAN (The Consortium for the Sustainable Development of Andean Ecoregion), Winrock International and the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. She previously served on the National Agricultural Research, Education and Economics Advisory Board.

Charles “Chuck” Hibberd, a Lexington, Nebraska native and UNL graduate who assumed the position of Dean of Cooperative Extension in 2012. Dr. Hibberd was the director of Extension and associate dean of agriculture at Purdue University from 2007 to 2012. Previously, he was director of the Panhandle Extension Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for 13 years.

Hibberd received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture, with an animal science major from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Oklahoma State University in animal science and animal nutrition, respectively. He was a faculty member at OSU from 1982-94.


As our host facility for Helping Small Towns Succeed, the Graduate Lincoln Hotel is offering a discounted lodging rate of $139 per night for rooms that can accommodate up to four people. This rate is available until September 10 or until the reserved room block has been filled. You can book your hotel by clicking on this link.

The institute will begin on Tuesday, October 17 at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 19. A reception will be held Wednesday evening. All institute activities will take place at the Graduate Lincoln Hotel, located in the historic Haymarket/Railyard of Lincoln. Graduate Lincoln offers a complementary shuttle to and from the Lincoln Municipal Airport.

Register today to receive the Early Bird rate of $249 for all three days. Your institute registration fee covers lunch and breaks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, plus all of your learning and networking materials. You can register here.

Program Overview
The Institute program will include reflection and sharing on how CCFI Clues to Rural Community Survival has been applied in community settings, how the community case studies have helped practitioners build capacity and how 20 Clues have been used on a world-wide scale. As an integral part of the institute, the Community Capitals Framework will be explored as a tool for categorizing key assets. Hear how the framework is applied and reflect on new case studies created from a multi-institutional collaboration on disaster preparedness and community resiliency. Opportunities for both formal and informal networking will be an institute design feature. Breakout sessions will feature such topics as community readiness and resiliency, collective impact, appreciative inquiry and community engagement